How many NAS bays do you really need?

Number of NAS bays you need

Investing in a Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit is a great start to protecting your data. However, determining the right combination of capacity for the present and future needs is highly important. This is when you need to figure out how many NAS bays you will need.

It all begins with how much data you really have and the amount you are expecting to create over the next four to five years.

Its obvious. The more bays you have the more data your NAS can store. Simple right? Well, yes, but then you also need to consider the size of the drives you are installing inside these bays.

Time to do some math! A home user would typically start with a 2-bay NAS like the QNAP TS-231+ unit. Integrate it with two 2TB drives and you have 4TB of storage in a 2-bay NAS. This why you may see equations like the one below on many NAS integrating websites.

Nas integrated storage equation


If you are an enterprise company constantly creating new data, then a 2-bay NAS will not suffice. You need a monster unit typically called a rackmount. Enterprise units come in 8-bays up to a whopping 24-bays and are mostly compatible with expansion units to keep growing.

Hard drives today are now at 12TB and if integrated into a 24-bay NAS, that equals 288TBs of storage available in only one unit. That is a lot of storage space! It feels like yesterday when the largest hard-drive was only 6TB but now they can go up to 10TB in one bay.

QNAP 24-bay rackmount nas

But don’t get too excited with those numbers just yet because of data redundancy (RAID). Once RAID is set for your drives, it reduces your storage capacity almost 50 percent in some cases if you set it to RAID1 or RAID10. (We will go more into detail on the benefits for RAID and the different options to choose in an article soon to be linked back here.)

Therefore, choosing the right amount of NAS bays to carry your data even after the redundancy is how you can finally determine how many bays you really need in a NAS.

So how many NAS bays do you need?

NAS Bays